Dear Bailey…

The following is a work of fiction based on recent events and experiences in Ireland.

Dear Bailey,

I miss you and just wanted to fill you in on a few things that have been going on over here in Ireland. All the kids are well and so is my husband Josh. On another note, I know you remember meeting my friend Mary who has the very small sheep farm and I am very worried for her. Her sheep farm is really going downhill and she isn’t making enough income at all. I told her that if she wanted to work at the dairy farm with Josh that I would ask if they could find her a position, even part time. I’m not sure that she’s into the idea though because she seemed very hesitant about it. Even if she did start working at the dairy farm, she would need help with her sheep and tend to them throughout the day. I guess I could do it during my lunch break from work, but I am not familiar with how to shear them. I also suggested that maybe she sell the sheep to another larger wool farm but she didn’t like that idea either. I don’t know if you could tell when you met her a while ago that she is obsessed with her sheep and they take up all her time. She knows she’s not getting enough income from the wool, but she refuses to give up the sheep. These animals take time and effort to keep up with and because she’s getting older, I worry that they are just going to wear her out. Mary’s family has moved across the country and they really aren’t around to help her. Sometimes I see her young neighbor Pat helping her with the sheep and keeping them in order and I wonder if she would ever consider handing down her sheep to him. That way she could keep an eye on them and still visit them, but without all the treacherous work. I think Mary is around 65 now and you could tell that she is starting to slow down, but if she gets a simple job at the dairy farm then maybe she could have a steady income. A couple days ago my husband had to help pay for Mary’s milk and cheese when she went to pick it up from the dairy farm because she only had €2.00 left in her wallet. Of course, Josh didn’t mind but I worry that she isn’t realizing how much she borrows from people. Down the road at my neighbors’ farm stand they have a system where everyone pays what they think the veggies are worth. Sometimes I take the lettuce and potatoes, but I leave around 6 or 7 euro. But recently, someone has been taking veggies and not leaving any money. I think it might be Mary but I don’t want to bring it up to her because that would be so rude if it’s not her. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? Please write back soon, we love and miss you!

Love, your twin, Bridgett